This quiet Saturday morning is the perfect opportunity for story time, so buckle in with a hot cup of somethin’, cause I’m about to tell you all how I told Matthew that I have anxiety.
It was 8 am – early, I know. I had been up for a while, excited about the fact that I was going on a date. Or at least I thought it was a date. To be honest, I wasn’t actually sure. But I knew I had plans with this gorgeous man to go to the gym at 8 am, so I hoped it was, but in my mind I did question it because those are not your typical first date plans.
Although excited, a part of me was also apprehensive. I had kissed a lot of frogs and quite frankly, I was growing weary of it. So by this time I had adopted a sort of “this is who I am, take it or leave it” attitude. I didn’t want to waste any more time. You know how it is.
So I hopped in his truck, and because he was even more handsome than I hoped, I was quite nervous. I wasn’t exactly planning to put it all out there, but since I couldn’t stop my motor mouth from running I just went there and said “I have anxiety”.
I don’t think much was made from the subject. I gather at the time he thought I meant I was a nervous person. But I’m not a nervous person, really. But I do have a mental illness. And I felt that if this was going anywhere after the first date, he deserved to know.
Unfortunately for me, this King was about to find out what I meant when I said “I have anxiety”.
I remember having my first panic attack around him being a nightmare. For me because I was embarrassed, and for him because he had no idea what was going on. Matthew had never been close to anyone with anxiety, let alone seen anyone have a panic attack before.
I used my disclosure like a shield, “I warned you though! Muahahahaahaha” , I would think to myself. But I realized that telling someone that you have anxiety isn’t exactly the same as asking them to live with it.
Learning to live with it, as a partner, looks a little like this (or so I gather)…
- Learning what makes your partner anxious (it’s different for everyone)
- Being supportive while they have anxiety
- Being supportive while they have a panic attack
- Encouraging your partner to practice good self care
- Accepting that anxiety isn’t a choice or something that can just be “shut off”
- Seeing the worst of someone and still thinking their the best
I am lucky to have an amazing partner who is my biggest anxiety supporter; he knows how to talk me down from the ‘anxiety ledge’ like no other.
I’m glad that I disclosed my anxiety right away, but at the same time I’m not sure it was going to make a difference. Because disclosing it one thing, but actually experiencing your partner going through it is another. And your partner’s reaction when you tell them doesn’t exactly determine how they will support you moving forward.
So tell them whenever you are comfortable to, and let time tell you the rest. I know that’s not exactly comforting. But heck, one big part of conquering anxiety is learning, to some degree, to let go.
If you want to hear more about my anxiety you can check out this previous post: Coping with Anxiety: What works for me
If you are even MORE curious (jeez you guys 😉 ) and want more anxiety related posts, there is also these: How to Fix Someone with Anxiety and one of my personal favourites: Things my anxiety has told me (that are complete and utter lies).
I hope that all my fellow anxiety warriors out there have bagged themselves some awesomely supportive partners!
Thanks for reading!
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